Suspended judge Garzon forced to take bus with security guard

He found out about decision from his minders when he landed in Madrid after a trip

Suspended High Court Judge Baltasar Garzón said Wednesday that the Interior Ministry has reduced his security detail following his Supreme Court conviction for illegally authorizing wiretaps of jailhouse phone conversations of the suspects in Gürtel kickbacks-for contracts scandal.

Garzón was in Colombia on official business for the Organization of American States (OAS) when the decision was taken.

“No one from the Interior Ministry has contacted me to explain why my security detail was reduced,” Garzón told EL PAÍS, adding that he learn about the decision from his own bodyguards when he landed in Madrid.

Interior officials decided to reduce his regular two-man detail to one, and that bodyguard, according to Garzón, has to travel by public transport to protect the suspended court judge, who is still under death threats by ETA.

The situation is so ridiculous that because of the reduction the bodyguard, who is a police officer, has to follow Garzón by bus, train or metro while the judge travels in his own automobile.

“The other day I had to make a trip outside of Madrid and I found my bodyguard standing at the bus stop with his bags. What type of protection can you get from someone who is dragging along their suitcase?" Garzón asked. Sources at the Interior Ministry say they don’t comment on individual security details.

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